16 December 2003

The University of Queensland’s Faculty of Arts graduation will have a unique international flavour tomorrow (Wednesday, December 17) when a number of students will be awarded the first dual-university degree for psychology graduands.

In conjunction with the University of Indonesia, 15 students will receive their Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) after studying both at UQ`s School of Psychology and at the University of Indonesia (UI).

Beginning their degrees overseas, the students transfer to UQ after 18 months and spend another two years in Brisbane to complete the UQ degree.

Then they do one additional semester at UI, and also receive a UI Bachelor of Psychology degree.

“This is the first cohort of students to come through the unique program and they have all done very well,” student advisor Astrid Sirowatka said.

“Many of the students have their parents coming to the ceremony (at 6pm) so it should be a very special occasion.”

The Indonesian students will join almost 950 others who will graduate from two Faculty of Arts ceremonies on December 17, to be held at the UQ Centre at 3pm and 6pm.

The University will also award honorary doctorates to two distinguished recipients at the ceremonies.

The first will go to former state politician Pat Comben, who will also be the guest speaker at the 3pm ceremony, and the second to poet Rodney Hall who will be the guest speaker at the 6pm ceremony.

Rev. Comben, who will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Philosophy, is recognised for his commitment to heritage, environment and wildlife conservation issues.

Rev. Comben grew up in England and emigrated to Australia where he worked as a jackaroo on an outback NSW property, and then with a mining company before completing a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Queensland and a MBA undertaken at Bond University. He also completed a Graduate Diploma of Theology at the Brisbane College of Theology.

He entered state politics in 1983 and serving in opposition rose to be Minister for Environment and Heritage before becoming the Minister for Education.

Rev. Comben has demonstrated a great commitment to environmental protection and preservation. He is a Councillor with the Royal Historical Society and the Royal Geographical Society. His interest in the environment is also demonstrated through his commitment to the Brisbane Forest Park Advisory Board, where he has been the Chair since 2001 and he is the current President of the National Trust Queensland.

Mr Hall will be awarded a Doctor of Literature in recognition of his distinguished career and his contribution to Australian literature.

An internationally renowned author, he has written 11 novels with a twelfth due out next year. He has twice won the Miles Franklin Award for Just Relations in 1982 and then again in 1994 for the Grisly Wife. His 2001 book The Day We Had Hitler Home was shortlisted for the Award. He has published 12 collections of poems and from 1967-78 was poetry editor for The Australian newspaper.

In addition to his extensive writings in literature and poetry, Rodney Hall is also an accomplished musician. He plays the recorder and was the leader of the Baroque Music Group. Between 1981 and 1983, he was the Musical Director of the Musica da Camera Chamber Orchestra.

Rodney Hall held the position of Chairperson of the Australia Council from 1991 until 1994. In 1994 he was honoured with a membership of the Order of Australia. He graduated from The University of Queensland in 1971.

Other graduates of interest attending the ceremonies include:

Peter Jans (phone 07 3222 9571), has just completed a Master of Arts in Ancient History and will be graduating at the 6pm ceremony with his daughter, Emma Jans, who will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology and History). Mr Jans, who is also a lawyer, said studying the early Roman Empire was a way to do something completely irrelevant to his work and is now in the process of enrolling in a PhD. He said graduating with his daughter was a pure coincidence but it would make it even more special.

* Emily Wilson (phone 0402 108 647) will be graduating with her PhD at the 3pm ceremony, on the history of eugenic ideology in Queensland in the first half of the 20th Century. She looked at the thinking around that time including topics such as “racial fitness” and debates about whether mental health sufferers should be sterilised.

* Anna Bemrose (0417 387 042) will be graduating with her PhD at the 3pm ceremony. Ms Bemrose did her thesis on Sir Robert Helpmann and the years he spent in Australia after making a name for himself on the world stage. It covers his work with the Australian Ballet and other theatrical enterprises that have largely been ignored by scholars and biographers.

* Virginia Berry (phone 07 3875 3592 or 0421 070 304) has completed a PhD on 19th Century philosopher GWF Hegel and feminism. Ms Berry’s thesis looked at what his work can offer feminist theory especially in areas such as ethics and love.

Media: For more information contact Jan King at UQ Communications (telephone 3365 1120).